Miami music festival to return with neighbors’ blessing

MIAMI (AP) — One of the world’s top electronic music festivals is returning to downtown Miami next year with the blessing of neighbors who have complained about the event in the past.

Organizers of the Ultra Music Festival announced Tuesday an agreement to settle tensions with the Downtown Neighbors Alliance, the Miami Herald reported. The association representing 13 downtown condominium towers will no longer seek to remove the event from Bayfront Park.

Ultra said in a statement it would address issues like construction schedules, park closures, noise monitoring and traffic management.

Festival organizers and residents found a balance between protecting local lifestyles and hosting large-scale music productions, Ultra spokesman Ray Martinez said. He suggested the event being canceled the past two years might have helped negotiations.

“Maybe the COVID pause gave both sides an opportunity to kind of take a breath, if you will, and come to the table without the impending event looming over either side,” Martinez said.

Downtown Neighbors Alliance President James Torres said in a statement that his group was pleased with the deal.

“We believe that this agreement will allow Ultra and its neighbors to coexist and will highlight Downtown Miami as ‘One Community for All,’ and a great place to live, work and play,” Torres said.

Ultra had been hosted in downtown Miami for nearly two decades until 2018. After that year’s event, city commissioners voted not to renew the festival’s contract following complaints from residents. Ultra organizers moved the festival to Virginia Key in 2019, but logistical issues and sound complaints from new neighbors prompted organizers not to seek another year at that location.

Ultra was set to return to downtown Miami in March 2020, but a nationwide coronavirus lockdown going into effect just days before the festival forced its cancelation. The event was postponed for another year this past March, set to return in 2022.

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